Initiative in SF seeks to make circumcision a misdemeanor

Secular circumcision seems to be a largely American affectation, and even here, the debate surrounding the mostly cosmetic procedure can get pretty heated.

Those who advocate circumcision often cite hygiene or cosmetic reasons for opting to remove the foreskins of their baby boys. Opponents argue that the procedure has negligible health benefits and robs males of penile sensitivity. A man in San Francisco, a city which recently made headlines for a proposed ban on Happy Meals (or other kids meals with toys) has proposed that the procedure be banned and prosecuted as a misdemeanor:

The initiative would make it a misdemeanor to circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the genitals of a minor under 18, punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 or up to one year in jail, California’s KGPE-TV reported.

The proposal’s author, Lloyd Shofield, said that a man should decide whether or not he wants to be circumcised and that the decision should not be made by anyone else.

“It’s genital mutilation,” Schofield told KCBS-TV. “It’s a man’s body and…his body doesn’t belong to his culture, his government, his religion or even his parents. It’s his decision.”

While Shofield does have a point, the article goes on to suggest that a bit of patience may resolve the circumcision quandary in America. Only 32% of male babies were circumcised in 2009, down from 56% in 2006. Shofield will need 7,000 signatures to get the proposal onto a ballot. Would you vote to ban circumcising babies?